A delegation of US defense contractors and a former senior leader of the US Marine Corps yesterday pledged the beginning of deeper cooperation with Taiwan.
Taiwan has faced increasing pressure from China in the years since Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) was elected president. China has poached several of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies and sent military planes and ships toward the nation on a near-daily basis. It also held large-scale drills modeling a blockade and simulated strikes on important targets in Taiwan twice within the past year.
Speaking at a public forum in Taipei, former US Marine Corps Forces Pacific commander Steven Rudder said the US wants to be part of the defense capabilities of Taiwan and bolster its supply chain resilience.
Photo: Ann Wang, Reuters
He also emphasized how critical the nation’s position is for security.
“For the Asia-Pacific, I would offer there’s not another more important area in the world to maintain peace,” Rudder told the Taiwan-US Defense Industry Forum. “So [when] you hear ‘a free and open Indo-Pacific,’ this is a small part of ensuring that shared vision remains intact.”
“We want to be part of the self-defense capabilities of Taiwan,” he said.
Rudder said the visit was within the US’ multiple agreements with China and laws related to Taiwan, such as the Taiwan Relations Act, which requires Washington to ensure Taiwan can defend itself.
The legislation was enacted decades ago when the US first recognized China and broke off official diplomatic relations with Taipei.
The event was cohosted by trade groups from Taiwan and the US as the public-facing portion of the defense contractors’ visit.
Although it was unclear whether the groups would sign specific deals, Chinese-language media reported that the US was looking at cooperation in production of certain products.
Part of that cooperation would seek to ensure that both sides can work together to use the weapons systems Taiwan bought alongside the nation’s self-produced defense capabilities.
Washington is Taiwan’s largest unofficial partner and the supplier of a vast majority of is defense purchases.
“I’ll say it very simply: The endgame is joint interoperability,” Rudder said.
A group of about 20 people protested outside.
“American warmongers are a scourge on Taiwan,” one of their banners read.
“They sell all sorts of outdated ammunition to Taiwan and make tens of billions of US dollars from Taiwan every year,” said David T. Chien (錢達), vice chair of the Blue Sky Action Alliance, which supports unification with China.
From 6am on Tuesday to 6am yesterday, 27 Chinese warplanes and a drone flew toward Taiwan, the Ministry of National Defense said.
The drone encircled Taiwan proper, while seven Chinese navy vessels sailed the waters close by, the ministry said.
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